Wednesday, November 14, 2018

[PaleoOrnithology • 2018] Mirarce eatoni • The Most Complete Enantiornithine (Aves, Ornithothoraces) from North America and A Phylogenetic Analysis of the Avisauridae

Mirarce eatoni 
Atterholt​, Hutchison & O’Connor, 2018

 Illustration: Brian Engh. 

The most complete known North American enantiornithine was collected in 1992 but never formally described. The so-called “Kaiparowits avisaurid” remains one of the most exceptional Late Cretaceous enantiornithine fossils. We recognize this specimen as a new taxon, Mirarce eatoni (gen. et sp. nov.), and provide a complete anatomical description. We maintain that the specimen is referable to the Avisauridae, a clade previously only known in North America from isolated tarsometatarsi. Information from this specimen helps to clarify evolutionary trends within the Enantiornithes. Its large body size supports previously observed trends toward larger body mass in the Late Cretaceous. However, trends toward increased fusion of compound elements across the clade as a whole are weak compared to the Ornithuromorpha. The new specimen reveals for the first time the presence of remige papillae in the enantiornithines, indicating this feature was evolved in parallel to dromaeosaurids and derived ornithuromorphs. Although morphology of the pygostyle and (to a lesser degree) the coracoid and manus appear to remain fairly static during the 65 million years plus of enantiornithine evolution, by the end of the Mesozoic at least some enantiornithine birds had evolved several features convergent with the Neornithes including a deeply keeled sternum, a narrow furcula with a short hypocleidium, and ulnar quill knobs—all features that indicate refinement of the flight apparatus and increased aerial abilities. We conduct the first cladistic analysis to include all purported avisuarid enantiornithines, recovering an Avisauridae consisting of a dichotomy between North and South American taxa. Based on morphological observations and supported by cladistic analysis, we demonstrate Avisaurus to be paraphyletic and erect a new genus for “A. gloriae,” Gettyia gen. nov.

Figure 2:  Mirarce eatoniA sampling of the best-preserved cervical and thoracic vertebrae, including the axis.
 (A) Axis in lateral view. (B) Axis in dorsal view. (C) Axis in caudal view. (D) Third cervical vertebra in lateral view. (E) Third cervical vertebra in ventral view. (F) Posterior cervical vertebra in lateral view. (G) Posterior cervical vertebra in ventral view. (H) Thoracic vertebra in lateral view. (I) Thoracic vertebra in ventral view. (J) Thoracic vertebra in anterior view.
 Abbreviations: ds, dens; ep, epipophysis; lg, lateral groove; lr, lateral ridge; pap, parapophysis; prz, prezygopophysis; poz, postzygopophysis; ps, posterior shelf; sp, spinous process; vp, ventral process. Scale bar equals one cm. 
Photos: David Strauss.

 Figure 19: A skeletal reconstruction of Mirarce eatoni showing preserved skeletal elements (white).
Illustration: Scott Hartman.

Systematic paleontology
Class AVES Linnaeus, 1758
Subclass ENANTIORNITHES Walker, 1981

Family AVISAURIDAE Brett-Surman and Paul, 1985

Revised diagnosis: Enantiornithine birds with the following unique combination of morphological features: tarsometatarsus with inclined proximal articular surface; strong transverse convexity of the dorsal surface of the mid-shaft of metatarsal III; a distinct plantar projection of the medial rim of the trochlea of metatarsal III (unambiguously supported in our phylogenetic analysis); and a laterally compressed J-shaped metatarsal I (modified from Chiappe (1993)).

Phylogenetic definition: the last common ancestor of Neuquenornis volans and Avisaurus archibaldi plus all its descendants (Chiappe, 1993).

Included genera: Avisaurus (Brett-Surman & Paul, 1985); Soroavisaurus (Chiappe, 1993); Neuquenornis (Chiappe & Calvo, 1994); Intiornis (Novas, Agnolín & Scanferla, 2010); Mirarce (current study); and Gettyia (current study).


Etymology: Named for its spectacular preservation and level of morphological detail (Latin “mirus” for wonderful), and after Arce, winged messenger of the titans in Greek mythology, for the evidence suggesting a refined flight apparatus in this species.

Type species: Mirarce eatoni sp. nov. (by monotypy)

Etymology: The type species is named in honor of Dr. Jeffrey Eaton, for his decades of work contributing to our understanding of the Kaiparowits Formation and the fossils recovered from it.


Holotype: UCMP 139500, a three-dimensional partial skeleton consisting of several cervical and thoracic vertebrae (including the axis), the pygostyle, almost all phalanges from the left pes and several from the right, a complete humerus, femur, and tarsometatarsus, a partial scapula, coracoid, furcula, and tibiotarsus, as well as fragments of the sternum, radius, ulna, carpometacarpus, and manual phalanges (see Table 1 for measurements of select elements).

Type horizon and locality: UCMP locality V93097, Late Cretaceous (late Campanian 76–74.1 Ma; Roberts, Deino & Chan, 2005) Kaiparowits Formation of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Garfield County, Utah, USA.

Diagnosis. A large, turkey-sized avisaurid (see above diagnosis) enantiornithine (thoracic vertebrae with centrally located parapophyses; pygostyle cranially forked with ventrolateral processes; furcula dorsolaterally excavated; Chiappe & Walker, 2002) with the following autapomorphies: posterior end of sternum weakly flexed caudodorsally, terminating in a small knob; ulnae with remige papillae present; small, deep, circular pit located just craniolateral to the femoral posterior trochanter; small, triangular muscle scar on medial margin of the femoral shaft just distal to the head followed distally by a much larger proximodistally elongate oval; distinct, rugose ridge-like muscle attachment located on the craniomedial margin of the femur a quarter length from the distal end; and tubercle for the m. tibialis cranialis located at the mid-point of the shaft of metatarsal II on the dorsal surface. The new species is further distinguished by the unique combination of the following characters: acrocoracoidal tubercle very weakly developed and medially located; furcula with truncate (untapered) omal tips weakly developed into articular facets and oriented perpendicular to the axis of the rami; ventral projection of the sternal keel proportionately greater than in most other enantiornithines (similar to condition observed in Neuquenornis); acetabulum fully perforate; medial surface of the medial condyle of the tibiotarsus with deep circular excavation; and elongate, slightly raised, flat, oval surface present on the medial edge of the plantar surface of metatarsal II continuous with a weak medial plantar crest.

Figure 20: A reconstruction of living Mirarce eatoni, illustrating the large body size of this taxon.
 Illustration: Brian Engh.

Revised Systematic Paleontology

Etymology: Named in honor of Mike Getty, a great friend, technician, and field paleontologist, who is dearly missed.

GETTYIA GLORIAE (Varricchio & Chiappe, 1995) new comb.

Holotype: MOR 553E/, a three-dimensional tarsometatarsus missing part of metatarsal IV.

Type horizon and locality: Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Two Medicine Formation, MOR locality TM-068, Glacier County, Montana, USA.

Diagnosis: small avisaurid enantiornithine with the following unique combination of features: dorsal surface of the tarsometatarsus strongly inclined; attachment for the m. tibialis cranialis located beyond the midpoint of the tarsometatarsus; and distal vascular foramen completely closed by metatarsal IV.

Jessie Atterholt​, J. Howard Hutchison and Jingmai K. O’Connor. 2018. The Most Complete Enantiornithine from North America and A Phylogenetic Analysis of the Avisauridae. PeerJ. 6:e5910.  DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5910

[Botany • 2018] Bulbophyllum chrysolabium (Orchidaceae, Epidendroideae) • A New Species from Yunnan, China

Bulbophyllum chrysolabium L. Li & D.P. Ye

in Li, Ye & Zeng, 2018. 

Bulbophyllum chrysolabium, a new species belonging to section Racemosae from Yunnan, China is described and illustrated. The species is related to B. orientale and B. morphologorum, but differs by having the following set of characters: obliquely broadly-based triangular petals with a long filiform apex; lip densely glandular papillose and conspicuously ciliolate along margins; lip auricles well developed, narrowly falcate, tapering to a long sharp point at the apex; stelidia subulate and twisted inwards, slightly exceeding operculum. The conservation status of B. chrysolabium is assessed and taxonomic notes are provided.

Keywords: Menglian County, new taxa, section Racemosae, taxonomy

Figure 1. Bulbophyllum chrysolabium.
 A Habit B Flower, lateral view C Flower, frontal view D Dorsal sepal, petals and lateral sepals, adaxial view E Lip, lateral view F Lip, ventral view G Pollinia H Operculum, ventral view I Column, ventral view J Column and lip, lateral view.
 Scale bars: 2 cm (A), 2 mm (B–D), 1 mm (E–F, I–J), 0.2 mm (G–H). 
Drawn by Yun-Xiao Liu.

Figure 2. Bulbophyllum chrysolabium.
A Habitat B Inflorescences C Close-up of inflorescence D Flower, lateral view showing floral bract E Flower, frontal view F Dorsal sepal, petal and lateral sepal, abaxial view G Lip, ventral view H Column and lip, lateral view.
Scale bars, 1 mm (G), 2 mm (D–F, H).

Bulbophyllum chrysolabium L. Li & D.P. Ye, sp. nov.

 Diagnosis: Bulbophyllum chrysolabium is distinguished from all known congeners by having the following unique combination of features: obliquely broadly-based triangular petals with a long filiform apex; lip densely glandular papillose on both sides and conspicuously ciliolate along margins; lip auricles well developed, narrowly falcate, tapering to a long sharp point at the apex; stelidia subulate and twisted inwards, slightly exceeding operculum.

Taxonomic notes: Bulbophyllum chrysolabium appears to be related to B. orientale Seidenf. (Seidenfaden 1979: 138), especially in narrowly falcate lip auricles and twisted stelidia, but differs in distinctly longer floral bracts (almost twice as long as the pedicel and ovary); petals with long filiform apices, a rather smaller lip (ca. 2.8 mm long), significantly glandular-papillose and ciliolate at margins; stelidia slightly exceeding operculum and distinctly longer than column. With respect to filiform petals, B. chrysolabium is also superficially similar to B. morphologorum Kräenzl. (1908: 89), however, the latter have a fat, conical protuberance or callus on the front of the column near its base and scape much longer than rachis. In addition, it has subulate, not twisted stelidia, considerably longer than operculum; lip auricles not falcate, but rather obtuse at the apex. A detailed morphological comparison between B. chrysolabium and its allied species is presented in Table 1.

Distribution and habitat: So far known only from Menglian County in southwest Yunnan Province, China, growing as an epiphyte amongst mosses on the tree trunk near the edge of river in rather exposed circumstances in subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest.

Etymology: The specific epithet comes from the Ancient Greek word chryso-golden” and the Latin derived labium labellum”, referring to the golden-yellow lip of the type.

 Lin Li, De-Ping Ye and Song-Jun Zeng. 2018. Bulbophyllum chrysolabium (Orchidaceae, Epidendroideae, Malaxideae), A New Species from Yunnan, China. PhytoKeys. 111: 61-68. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.111.28136

[Entomology • 2018] Paramonovius nightking • A New Genus and Species of An Unusual Australian Winter Bee Fly (Diptera: Bombyliidae) with Discussion on Its Phylogenetic Position

Paramonovius nightking 
Li & Yeates, 2018
photo by 'Jean and Fred'

A new genus of bee fly (Bombyliinae: Bombyliini) is described to place a unique species Paramonovius nightking gen. et sp. nov. The new species is only collected in winter and is only known from a restricted area in Western Australia. Our morphological phylogeny indicates the new genus is sister to Sisyromyia White, 1916 and is similar to the latter in some external characters such as the one‐segmented antennal flagellum with apical stylus, subapex with 3–5 long hairs, open cell r5 and cell br nearly as long as cell bm. However, Paramonovius gen. nov. has dichoptic male eyes, sparse scales on the median abdominal stripe, enlarged claw and pulvillus, as well as a series of autapomorphies in the genitalia. We present a modified key to the Australian genera of Bombyliini to accommodate this new genus. The unusual flight time of this genus may have contributed to its rarity in collections.

Keywords: morphological phylogeny, Paramonovius, taxonomy

Paramonovius nightking Wandoo National Park, Western Australia

photo by 'Jean and Fred'

female Paramonovius nightking 

photo by 'Jean and Fred' 

Genus Paramonovius gen. nov.

Etymology: This generic name is in honour of Dr. Sergei Jacques Paramonov for his significant contribution to Australian dipterology.

Paramonovius nightking sp. nov. 

Etymology: This species is named after the Night King in the American fantasy drama Game of Thrones, because all the specimens were collected in winter and the fly is mostly covered in thick pale pruinescence. The specific name is treated as a noun in apposition.

Xuankun Li and David K. Yeates. 2018. A New Genus and Species of An Unusual Australian Winter Bee Fly (Diptera: Bombyliidae) with Discussion on Its Phylogenetic position. Austral Entomology.  DOI: 10.1111/aen.12361

[Botany • 2018] Chiloschista pulchella (Orchidaceae: Aeridinae) • A New Orchid Species from Lao PDR

Chiloschista pulchella Aver. & K.S. Nguyen

in Averyanov, Nguyeh & Maisak, 2018.

The new species, Chiloschista pulchella (Orchidaceae: Aeridinae) was discovered in Hin Nam No Nature Protected Area, Khammoune Province of the central Laos. The paper provides detailed description and illustration of this species, which is identified as a local endemic of karstic rocky limestone of the northern part of the protected area. It differs from all known congeners in the thin lip, median lip lobe dissected into two small subulate lobules, as well as in large purple blotches on the lip side-lobes never found in other species of this genus. The newly discovered plant represents interest for cultivation as an ornamental plant and needs protection in its natural habitats.

Keyword: Laos, Orchids, Plant diversity, Plant taxonomy, Limestone endemism, Hin Nam No Nature Protected Area

Fig. 1. Chiloschista pulchella Aver. & K.S. Nguyen.
Flowering plant, inflorescence, flowers and floral details (fresh living plant prior to preparation of the holotype herbarium specimen, AL 889).
Photos by Khang Sinh Nguyen and Leonid V. Averyanov, 
correction and design by L. Averyanov.

Fig. 2. Chiloschista pulchella Aver. & K.S. Nguyen.
A. Flowering plant. B. Intact flowers, side views. C. Intact flowers, frontal view. D. Flattened flowers, view from behind and frontal view. E. Intact lip, view from above. F. Intact lip, view from below. G. Intact lip, side view. H. Sagittal section of the lip. I. Anther cap, side view, frontal view and view from below. J. Pollinarium, frontal view, view from behind and side view. K. Halves of pollinium.
 All drawn from the type, AL 889 by L. Averyanov and T. Maisak.

Chiloschista pulchella Aver. & K.S. Nguyen, sp. nov. 

Described from central Laos (“Laos, Khammoune Province, Boualapha District, ..., within the territory of Hin Nam No Nature Protected Area, primary dry evergreen and semi deciduous broad-leaved forest on very steep rocky slope near karstic hill top composed with solid, marble-like highly eroded limestone at 350–430 m a.s.l., epiphyte on tall tree, rare) 
Type (“9 May 2018, L. Averyanov, K. S. Nguyen, T. Maisak, L. Xaiyavongsa, S. Keovankham, AL 889” – LE (holotype).

Distribution: Central Laos: Khammoune province (Boualapha district, the territory of Hin Nam No Nature Protected Area). Endemic. Habitat, ecology and conservation status: Miniature aphyllous epiphytes growing in primary dry evergreen and semideciduous, broad-leaved forests on karstic rocky limestone, at an elevation of 350–430 m. Rare. Currently, the IUCN Red List status should be ascertained as Data Deficient (DD). 

Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the attractive, colorful flowers having purple lip side lobes. 

Notes. Chiloschista pulchella strikingly differs from all its congeners by the flat lip apex (not fleshy), the median lip lobe dissected into two small subulate lobules, and by the presence of large purple blotches on the sidelobes of the lip which is never found in any other species of the genus. This new species belongs to the group of species with a simple operculum (not having any appendages), but has no certain similarity with any other species of this group. Formally, it can be compared with C. exuperei (Guillaumin) Garay, which also has a bilobulate median lip lobe. However, both these species are obviously different in their floral morphology  


Leonid V. Averyanov, Khang Sinh Nguyeh and Tatiana V. Maisak. 2018. Chiloschista pulchella (Orchidaceae: Aeridinae) New Orchid Species from Lao PDR. Taiwania. 63(4); 389-392. DOI: 10.6165/tai.2018.63.389  



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

[Arachnida • 2018] A Review of some Neriene Spiders (Araneae, Linyphiidae) from China

Neriene emphana (Walcknear, 1841) 

in Li, Liu & Chen, 2018. 

The genus Neriene Blackwall, 1833 from China is reviewed. Two new species are described: Neriene lushanensis n. sp., Neriene orthocera n. sp. Ketambea liupanensis (Tang & Song, 1992) n. comb. and Ketambea nigripectoris (Oi, 1960) n. comb. are transferred from the genus Neriene. Nineteen known species are redescribed or diagnosed and discriminated from related species: Neriene aquilirostralis Chen & Zhu, 1989, Neriene birmanica (Thorell, 1887), Neriene calozonata Chen & Zhu, 1989, Neriene cavaleriei (Schenkel, 1963), Neriene clathrata (Sundevall, 1830), Neriene compta Zhu & Sha, 1986, Neriene decormaculata Chen & Zhu, 1988, Neriene emphana (Walcknear, 1841), Neriene hammeni (Van Helsdingen, 1963), Neriene japonica (Oi, 1960), Neriene limbatinella (Bosenberg & Strand, 1906), Neriene longipedella (Bosenberg & Strand, 1960), Neriene macella (Thorell, 1898), Neriene nitens Chen & Zhu, 1991, Neriene oidedicata (Van Helsdingen, 1969), Neriene poculiforma Liu & Chen, 2010, Neriene radiata (Walckenear, 1841), Neriene strandia (Blauvelt, 1936), and Neriene zhui Chen & Li, 1995.

Keywords:  Taxonomy, Linyphiidae, redescription, new species, new combination

Neriene emphana (Walcknear, 1841)

Jian Yong Li, Jie Liu and Jian Chen. 2018. A Review of some Neriene Spiders (Araneae, Linyphiidae) from China. Zootaxa.  4513(1); 1–90. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4513.1.1

[Chilopoda • 2018] Australobius tracheoperspicuus • the First Subterranean Species of Centipede (Lithobiomorpha, Lithobiidae) from southern China

Australobius tracheoperspicuus 
 Li, Pei, Guo, Ma & Chen, 2018

Australobius tracheoperspicuus sp. n. (Lithobiomorpha: Lithobiidae) was recently discovered from the Cave of the brickyard of Gaofeng village, in the Guizhou Province, southwest China, and it is described here. Morphologically the new species is similar to A. magnus (Trozina>, 1894) from north-western China. The new species can be easily distinguished from those by the trachea connected to the valve of the TIII clearly visible from the dorsal side, the absence of ocelli on each side of the cephalic plate, the DaC spine being only present on the XIIIth–XVth legs. Numbers of examined specimens, distribution and the main morphological characters and an identification key to the known Chinese species of genus Australobius based on adult specimens is given.

Keywords: Australobius, cave Lithobiomorpha, China, new species

11 Posterior segments and gonopods in male, ventral view 
12 Living specimen of Australobius tracheoperspicuus sp. n. 13 Cave of the brickyard of Gaofeng village.

Figures 1–12. Australobius tracheoperspicuus sp. n. 
(holotype male 1–5, 7–9, 11–12 paratype female 6 and 10) 
1 Habitus, dorsal view 2 Tömösváry’s organ, lateral view 3 Cephalic plate, dorsal view 4 Cephalic plate, ventral view 5 Forcipular coxosternite, ventral view 6 T III of female 7 T III of male 8 SS I–V 9 SS VI and VII 10 Posterior segments and gonopods of female, ventral view 11 Posterior segments and gonopods in male, ventral view 12 Living specimen of Australobius tracheoperspicuus sp. n. 13 Cave of the brickyard of Gaofeng village.

Australobius tracheoperspicuus sp. n.

Diagnosis: Antennae with 26 articles, no ocelli, anterior margin of the coxosternite with 5+5 teeth, more or less developed, porodonts slender, between fourth and fifth outer teeth. Tergites without posterior triangular projections, trachea connected to the valve of the T III clearly visible from the dorsal side. Coxal pores 4–6. Tarsal articulation well defined on legs I–XV. No secondary sexual modifications on legs XIV and XV of male. Female gonopods with simple claw, 2+2 spurs. Male gonopods short and small blunt cone bulge, apically slightly sclerotized.

Etymology: The specific name refers to the trachea connected to the valve of the T III that is clearly visible from the dorsal side.

Habitat: The specimens were collected on the limestone walls and bedrock floor of the cave.

 Qing Li, Su-Jian Pei, Xuan Guo, Hui-Qin Ma and Hui-Ming Chen. 2018. Australobius tracheoperspicuus sp. n., the First Subterranean Species of Centipede from southern China (Lithobiomorpha, Lithobiidae).  ZooKeys. 795: 83-91.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.795.28036

[Entomology • 2018] Tropidomantis kawaharai • First Record of A Praying Mantis (Mantodea: Iridopterygidae) in the mid‐Pacific Marquesas Archipelago

Tropidomantis kawaharai  Brannoch

in Brannoch & Svenson, 2018. 

Two praying mantis specimens were collected on the island of Hiva Oa of the Marquesas Archipelago, an isolated island chain located approximately in the centre of the Pacific Ocean. While external morphological features agree with the diagnosis of the genus Tropidomantis, the unique combination of character states reveals that they represent a new species. Furthermore, this is the first record of a praying mantis collected in the Marquesas Archipelago. We describe the morphology of the species, illustrated by high resolution habitus images, figures of diagnostic features and measurement data for Tropidomantis kawaharai sp. nov.

Keywords: Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, new record, new species, Tropidomantis kawaharai

Figure 2. Dorsal and ventral habitus images of Tropidomantis kawaharai sp. nov.:
 (a, b) Holotype GSMC006598; (c, d) Paratype GSMC006599.
 Scale bars = 5 mm.  DOI: 10.1111/AEn.12373 

Figure 4  Key morphological features of Tropidomantis kawaharai:
(a) anterior view of head capsule; (b) ventral view of cervical sclerites; (c) dorsal view of pronotum. Dark grey shading = compound eyes and ocelli; light grey shading = cuticular colour markings; crosshatching indicates cuticular depressions; stippling indicates membranous region.

Abbreviations: icar, anterior rim of intercervical sclerite; icpr, posterior rim of intercervical sclerite; ics, intercervical sclerites; job, juxtaocular bulge; lclp, lateral part of lateral cervical sclerites; lcmp, medial part of lateral cervical sclerites; lcs, lateral cervical sclerites; LMP, lateral margin of pronotum; MK, medial keel; vcs, ventral cervical sclerites. 
Scale bars = 5 mm.  DOI: 10.1111/AEn.12373 

Tropidomantis Stål 1877

Tropidomantis kawaharai Brannoch sp. nov.

Etymology: This species is named in honour of Dr Akito Kawahara, who collected the specimens, for his enthusiastic commitment to the success of students in the field of entomology and whose mentorship encouraged the author to pursue a career in systematic entomology.

Sydney K. Brannoch and Gavin J. Svenson. 2018. First Record of A Praying Mantis, Tropidomantis kawaharai Brannoch sp. nov. (Mantodea: Iridopterygidae), in the mid‐Pacific Marquesas Archipelago. Austral Entomology. DOI: 10.1111/aen.12373  

Monday, November 12, 2018

[Botany • 2018] Lebbiea grandiflora (Podostemaceae-Podostemoideae) • A New, Nearly Extinct Genus with Foliose Tepals, in Sierra Leone

Lebbiea grandiflora Cheek

in Cheek & Lebbie, 2018. 

Lebbiea grandiflora (Podostemaceae), a rheophytic herb from the Sewa River rapids in Sierra Leone, is described as a new species. It is the first new African genus of Podostemaceae published for 30 years. First collected in May 2017, the species is assessed as Critically Endangered using the IUCN 2012 standard. It is on the edge of extinction with a small population at a single site threatened by deposition of gravel and sand from alluvial gold and diamond mining upstream, and a planned hydro-electric dam. The new genus is unique in Podostemaceae in a) its highly developed and robust style-stigma structure in which the bases of the two style-stigmas unite to form a bifurcate funneliform-cylindrical structure, with a reflexed, blade-like apex that extends half-way around the perimeter of the ovary-fruit towards the base of the ovary-fruit, b) a specialised andropodium, with robust, self-supporting capacity, having differentiated thickened central, and angled, thinner marginal areas (in other Podostemaceae the andropodial structures are undifferentiated), c) the pillar-like haptera which completely elevate the crustose root above the substrate. Lebbiea is placed in Podostemoideae, necessitating amplification of the delimitation of that subfamily in which it is additionally unique in having the foliose tepals characteristic of the basal subfamilies Weddellinoideae and Tristichoideae.

Fig 1.  Lebbiea grandiflora.
A. habit, whole plant, in fruit, showing the flat root, a pillar-like ‘haptera’, and a shoot with three inflorescences, B. detail of shoot with three branches, C. view of upper surface of a flattened root, with six short, erect shoots, each with 1–2 1-flowered inflorescences emerging from spathellum remains, D. side view of plant showing, on the lower surface of the flattened root, the pillar-like haptera, branched at base; upper surface of root with spathellum-sheathed inflorescence base, E. plant attached to rock by weft of thread-like root hairs (indicated with arrow) from base of pillar-like haptera; upper surface of flattened root with two shoots, F. side view of flower showing one of two tepals in full frontal view, G. as F. with tepal removed, exposing the gynoecium with, to left, the arched-over androecium, H. side view of flower with androecium in centre, two tepals flanking the gynoecium, I. androecium (leftmost of three anthers missing), J. transverse section of andropodium, K. view of gynoecium from above showing funneliform style-stigma base, L. fruit, dehisced, M. transverse section of bilocular fruit, showing septum and placentae, N. placentae with seeds, divided by septum, O. seeds, P. seed with mucilage outer layer.
Drawn by Andrew Brown from Lebbie A2721.

Lebbiea Cheek gen. nov.

Type: Lebbiea grandiflora Cheek sp.nov.

Diagnosis: differing from all other Podostemaceae in the basally connate style-stigma pair which form a short, bifurcate, funneliform cylinder, the apices of each style-stigma reflexed, forming a keel which encircles the distal perimeter of the ovary (in all other species the stigmas are not divided into basal and distal parts, and if conjoined never form a cylinder, nor have a keel-like distal part); also differing from all other Podostemaceae in the robust, free-standing, concave andropodium, differentiated into thinner marginal and thickened central portions (not depending on hydrostatic pressure to stay erect, not flat or cylindric, undifferentiated); differing from all other Podostemoideae in the ovate, concave, tepals that conceal the ovary (not filiform, inconspicuous) (Fig 1)

Lebbiea grandiflora Cheek sp. nov. [ 77188051-1]

Type: Sierra Leone, Sewa River, between Fomaya (Kenema District) and Ngnawama (Kono District), 257 m alt., fr. 5 May 2017, Lebbie A2721 (holotype K! K000875049; isotypes SL!, US!, ZT!)

Etymology: The generic name Lebbiea commemorates Dr. Aiah Lebbie, Head of The National Herbarium of Sierra Leone, Njala University, Sierra Leone who collected the type and only known material of this genus. The specific epithet refers to the flowers which are the largest known in the family in Africa (4-5 mm long above the pedicel), exceeding even those of Dicraeanthus africanus Engl. (3.5 mm long above the pedicel).

The Koukoutamba falls in Guinea on the Bafing River of Guinea-Conakry.
With 5 species of Podostemaceae, three globally threatened including two new to science (one of which is Lebbiea), it is the richest site known for Podostem species diversity in Guinea.

Distribution: Known only from one site on the Sewa River in the Kono and Kenema districts of Eastern Sierra Leone. The nearest settlement is Nɡnawama, several kilometres drive from Jaiama Sewafe, a large settlement dependent on alluvial diamond mining (Fig 2).

Ecology: Lebbiea grandiflora grows on submerged rocks in river beds, in the wet season, where they have been found in the middle of the river and close to the river bank. At the height of the dry season when falling water levels have exposed the rocks, the plants flower and fruit and die off (they can be easily scraped off the rock at this time). They grow in small isolated patches on rocks, covering the horizontal surfaces in a mat-like appearance with the flattened roots. Two of the observed clumps were growing on rocks in the middle of the river, with the third one close to the edge of the bank where a small rapid was still observable at the height of the dry season. The mass of rock on which it was growing had been partly dissected by the erosive forces of the river current, developing numerous small basins in which water was still present, sand and pebbles from the alluvial diamond mining had also settled. In the cracks in the bedrock and at the edges of the numerous basins can be found tufted water grasses growing in association with hydrophytes such as Hygrophila spp. (Acanthaceae). These plants probably serve to modulate the water current over the rocks in the wet season. Pterocarpus santalinoides L'Hér. ex DC. (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) was the only tree growing on these rocks in the middle of the river.

Martin Cheek and Aiah Lebbie. 2018. Lebbiea (Podostemaceae-Podostemoideae), A New, Nearly Extinct Genus with Foliose Tepals, in Sierra Leone.    PLoS ONE. 13(10): e0203603.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203603   

Kew Scientist discovers new species of aquatic herb on the edge of extinction


[Botany • 2018] Henckelia pathakii (Gesneriaceae) • A New Species of Henckelia from Arunachal Pradesh, India

Henckelia pathakii G. Krishna & Lakshmin. 

in Krishna & Lakshminarasimhan, 2018. 
Photographed by Gopal Krishna

Henckelia pathakii G. Krishna & Lakshmin. sp. nov., is described and illustrated here from Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, India. It differs from its closely related species H. adenocalyx and H. grandifolia in having cupular bracts (vs. free and slightly connate at base) and glabrous (vs. densely hairy or sparsely pubescent), eglandular calyx. As it is narrowly confined to Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh in a small population comprising about 20 individuals in a single location. The threat status of this new species is provisionally assessed here as “Critically Endangered” following the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria version 3.1 (2012).

Keyword: Arunachal Pradesh, Gesneriaceae, Henckelia pathakii, India

Fig. 1. Henckelia pathakii G. Krishna & Lakshmin. sp. nov. (A) Flowering twig, (B) Inflorescence with cupular bract, (C) Corolla split open (showing stamens and staminodes), (D) Calyx splitted, (E) Pistil with disk
[Drawn by Dineshwar Kumar Sah, (A–E) 
from holotype M.K. Pathak & Gopal Krishna 134270]

Fig. 2. Henckelia pathakii G. Krishna & Lakshmin. sp. nov. (A) Habit, (B) Solitary flower with cupular bract, (C) Inflorescence with cupular bract, (D) Corolla front view (stigma visible) [Photographed by Gopal Krishna]

Henckelia pathakii G. Krishna & Lakshmin. sp. nov. 

The new species can easily be distinguished from H. adenocalyx in glabrous nature of calyx (vs. hairy outside and sessile glands often on both surfaces); corolla glabrous (vs. puberulous corolla), variegated, sparsely adaxially hairy to glabrescent, glabrous beneath except midvein and lateral veins (vs. non-variegated, hairy on both sides) and bracts 2, red-greenish, fused forming a cup, coriaceous, glabrous (vs. bracts 2, greenish, free or adnate at the base, chartaceous, hairy). It differs from its another closely related ally, H. grandifolia by having cupular, glabrous bracts and glabrous corolla (vs. externally pubescent corolla). Comparison of diagnostic characters between the allied species is provided in detail in Table 1. 

Etymology: The specific epithet is named in honour of late Dr. M.K. Pathak (Botanist), Botanical Survey of India, for his significant contribution to the Flora of Arunachal Pradesh, India, who passed away suddenly on 7 Feb. 2013. 

Distribution and habitat: Henckelia pathakii is known only from the type locality, Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, India growing at an elevation of 1980 m, on outcrops of shaded moist hillslopes in subtropical evergreen forests. (Fig. 3)

Gopal Krishna and Pakshirajan Lakshminarasimhan. 2018. A New Species of Henckelia (Gesneriaceae) from Arunachal Pradesh, India.  Taiwania. 63(4); 397-401. DOI: 10.6165/tai.2018.63.397  


[Entomology • 2018] A Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Sirthenea (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Reduviidae) of the Old World

Sirthenea kali  Chłond, 2018

This paper presents a taxonomic revision of 28 described species of the genus Sirthenea Spinola, 1837 (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Peiratinae) distributed in the Afrotropical, Oriental, Palearctic, Oceanian and Australian zoogeographical regions. The following new synonymies are proposed: Sirthenea africana Distant, 1903 = S. rapax Horváth, 1909, syn. nov. = S. leonina Horváth, 1909, syn. nov. = S. bequaerti Schouteden, 1913, syn. nov. = S. leontovitchi Schouteden, 1931, syn. nov.; Sirthenea picescens Reuter, 1887 = S. atrocyanea Horváth, 1909, syn. nov.; S. rodhaini Schouteden, 1913 = S. collarti Schouteden, 1931, syn. nov. = S. angolana Villiers, 1958, syn. nov.; S. flavipes (Stål, 1855) = S. clavata Miller, 1948, syn. nov. = S. bharati Sucheta & Chopra, 1988, syn. nov. = S. koreana Kerzhner & Lee, 1996 syn. nov. = S. melanota Cai & Lu, 1990, syn. nov. = S. nigripes Murugan & Livingstone, 1990, syn. nov.; S. obscura (Stål, 1866) = S. glabra (Walker, 1873), syn. nov. A neotype is designated for S. picescens Reuter, 1887. Three species, S. erythromelas (Walker 1873), S. fulvipennis (Walker, 1873) and S. sobria (Walker, 1873), are excluded from the genus Sirthenea. Two new species from the Oriental Region, Sirthenea kali sp. nov. (India) and S. setosa sp. nov. (Malaysia) are described. Identification keys are provided for the subgenera and species from each zoogeographical region treated. Drawings of dorsal habitus and genitalic structures, drawings and images of selected morphological characters, and distribution maps of all valid species are presented.

Keywords: Hemiptera, Peiratinae, Sirthenea, Monogmus, new species, new synonym, Old World

Dominik Chłond. 2018. A Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Sirthenea (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Reduviidae) of the Old World. Zootaxa. 4520(1); 1–85.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4520.1.1